HA NOI — Attempts will be made to reduce the high 70 per cent of maternal mortality cases that occur during pregnancy and birth, according to Nguyen Duy Khe, director of the Ministry of Health's Department of Mother and Child Health Protection.
A research last year by the ministry shows that the maternal mortality rate among women having a third child is three times higher than among those having their second or first.
As many as 40 per cent of maternal mortalities take place when women give birth at home or on their way to hospital. Reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates in remote mountainous provinces, three times higher than in plain areas, was especially hard due to obstacles in access, Khe said.
Last Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan called on the ministry to join hands with hospitals to research possible reasons for maternal deaths and to reorganise and strengthen the system of reproductive health care.
The health sector was further urged to focus on better utilising obstetrics first-aid technology and increase public awareness initiatives.
The ministry had set up an action plan on reproductive health care focused on safe motherhood and newborn care in the period of 2011-15, said Khe.
Accordingly, maternal mortality cases occurring during pregnancy and birth will be brought down to 58 per cent by 2015. The current maternal mortality rate is about 69 per 100,000 cases.
In addition, 97 per cent of births will take place at hospitals or medical clinics while 87 per cent of pregnant women undergo health checks at least three times during pregnancy.
To reach its targets, the ministry has set up a number of training courses for communal midwives, especially in remote mountainous provinces, lasting from six to nine months.
Since last year, nearly 300 midwives have received training, most hailing from northern Ha Giang and central Kon Tum.
Maternal mortality appraisement boards will be set up in districts to keep close watch over fatality figures. The ministry has called on domestic and international organisations for investment to improve infrastructure and equipment at communal medical stations as well as better managed blood reserves for use in emergencies. — VNS